In July cheesemaker Alex James called for more incoming farmers to meet Britain’s food production needs.
He pointed out that four out of five of Britain’s farms are family businesses – not all of them owned, many of them tenanted but with long leases that pass down from generation to generation:
“Those who grow up attuned to the lifestyle often leave school wanting to look after the stock and the land. But agriculture is a sophisticated and rapidly evolving science. Within living memory, the fields that I can see through my window were all ploughed by horses. Now combine harvesters as complex as battleships link to 21st-century satellite technology . . .
“There is plenty of support available for would-be agrarians. The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester is again offering a one-year farming course – it was the major course in earlier days, attracting a group of young aspirant farmers who just wanted to get on with it.
“But if Britain is to meet the challenges of producing enough food for us all and continuing to protect the environment, the industry needs an influx of new people too, from farming and non-farming backgrounds. Estimates vary but a figure of 60,000 over the next 10 years was given on a BBC website.
The opportunities are tremendous – aspiring farmers just need a way in. Currently, 60% per cent of the food we eat in Britain is produced in Britain. Buying British is the easiest way to help them.